Sameness And Differentness

I've uncovered a point of leadership in writing my upcoming book on 96 hours of Abraham Lincoln. This point is the importance of sameness, differentness, and the leader's involvement in each.

A leader probably spends most time in sameness. I'm referring to the appropriate desire to ensure that followers are on the same page, share the same vision, know the same common identity, and more. The key word is clear: same. Sameness.

Take it a little further. Think about the things that may bother you as a leader on most days. It's some sort of disruption to one or more of these samenesses. You spend a lot of time trying to re-establish the sameness that keeps your followers together, keeps them moving on.

Now, turn over the coin. On its other side is differentness. Here is where a leader might stumble.

In particular moments and situations, a leader must seek to know the things that clusters of followers experience differently. Different challenges. Different backgrounds. Different immediate settings and circumstances. Different gifts. Different capabilities. And on and on.


In these events, a leader's instinct may be to overcome the differentness. OK. That could be a good thing to do. However, you might want to check to see if you fully know how the differentness is affecting your followers and what openings or opportunities exist for your leadership. By knowing the differentness, by stepping back and not automatically trying to hammer them into nonexistence, you could gain a lot that informs your next leadership action, your next leadership decision.

To get a better idea of what I'm talking about, be sure to read my book when it's finished. 96 Hours Of Abraham Lincoln: Reliving Four Lost Days Of Crisis And Trial.

I expect to release it this summer.